White paper samples

Some “experts” say there are eight, 10, even 40 different types of white papers?!

That’s a lot to remember, and a lot to choose from when you want to publish a white paper.

And I don’t think anyone needs that much complexity. Three main flavors, plus two mashups, cover 90% of all the white papers I’ve ever seen.

This page provides some samples of each flavor.

Click on any thumbnail below to download that PDF. These are just a few of the 216 white papers I have worked on.


 

Flavor #1: The Backgrounder

A backgrounder gives a deep dive into the features and benefits of a certain product or service. That makes this flavor as predictable as vanilla ice cream.

sample-white-paper-cover

click to see PDF

This sample is called an Evaluator’s Guide, and it describes five key benefits of this single sign-on product.

It often gives the product name, and provides many technical details.

Those are sure signs of a backgrounder, aimed at a B2B prospect near the bottom of the sales funnel.

Thanks to Okiok for permission to use this sample.


 

Flavor #2: The Numbered List

A numbered list provides a set of tips, questions or points about a certain issue, promising a quick and easy read.

This flavor is as light and lively as strawberry ice cream.

sample-white-paper-cover

click to see PDF

This sample lists seven questions that health insurance companies in the U.S. should ask hospitals.

Notice how each question is covered in a single page leaving white space as needed. Although this information is very detailed, it’s still easy to scan.

Thanks to Health Plus Technologies for permission to use this sample.


 

Flavor #3: The Problem/Solution

A problem/solution white paper describes a nagging industry problem, all the existing solutions and their drawbacks, and then a new, improved approach that works better than anything else.

This flavor is as rich and satisfying as chocolate ice cream.

sample-white-paper-cover

click to see PDF

Problem: Poor cash management and forecasting wastes a lot of money.

Existing solutions: Spreadsheets, accounting systems, ERP, CMS.

Recommendation: Automate the purchase-to-pay process to save costs and cut errors.

The effectiveness of this approach is proven by three mini-case studies.

Thanks to Basware for permission to use this sample.


 

Numbered List + Problem/Solution

Try this mashup when you want to provide a lighter take on how to solve an industry problem. This flavor is like a mix of strawberry and chocolate ice cream.

sample-white-paper-cover

click to see PDF

This sample lists three industry challenges, using the structure of a problem/ solution white paper.

Every existing approach (hard copies, couriers, faxes, e-mail, CDs, flash drives) is dismissed in turn; this is a sign of a problem/solution white paper.

Thanks to Aconex for permission to use this sample.


 

Numbered List + Backgrounder

Try this mix when you want to lighten up a backgrounder or spread some product-specific FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) on competitors. This flavor is like a mix of strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

sample-white-paper-cover

click to see PDF

Notice how this “Evaluation Guide” lists a set of 20 must-have features for a particular genre of software.

This checklist (aka buyer’s guide) asserts that this vendor has the most capable, full-featured offering on the market.
Thanks to eXplorance for permission to use this sample.


 

If you need help picking the perfect flavor for your next white paper drop me an e-mail to Gordon@ThatWhitePaperGuy.com

Discussion

  1. Ari says

    These are great. Can these templates all be designed with Microsoft Word or are there other White Paper programs that people use?

    • Gordon Graham says

      Flavors #3 and The Numbered List+Backgrounder were done with Word. The other samples on this page were all done by professional designers, I believe they all used InDesign.

      You can do a lot with Word, but no professional designer wants to use it because it lacks precise controls for typography and graphics.

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